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Forage Center News

Alumna Christy McGuire: Research, Role Playing, and Biases

4/25/19, 4:00 AM

McGuire shares experiences as a participant, role player, and part of the E&T team

Christy McGuire participated in the May 2018 training at LaRoche College, then returned in November 2018 as a role player and member of the Education & Training Team. She is particularly interested in collaborating with educators around racial equity and culturally relevant pedagogy, as well as in exploring humans’ various ways of knowing. Christy is a learning scientist as well as a lifelong learner. She earned a Ph.D. in cognitive and experimental psychology from Georgia Tech in 2001, and recently returned to school for an Ed.D. in social and comparative analysis in education at the University of Pittsburgh. In between these schooling experiences, she served as an area director for Elderhostel (now Road Scholar) and a research manager for Carnegie Learning. She also co-founded an educational technology startup company, Tutor Technologies. Currently, she is a freelance academic editor as well as a graduate research assistant at the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Here, she reflects on her experiences in conversation with Forage Center administrative specialist Catherine Cousar.

How did participating in a Forage Center training at LaRoche College as a student in May 2018 impact you?

This training felt like a once-in-a-lifetime experience — I know that sounds totally cheesy, but it’s true!  I learned from and with some phenomenally talented, brilliant, empathic people from all over the world.  I also made a really great friend with a fellow participant, Eve, who lives in Rwanda. During the initial classroom-based days we engaged with experts from a variety of fields that intersect with humanitarian work, including a video chat with someone working at a refugee camp in Bangladesh! My experience last year compelled me to learn more about humanitarian work itself, as well as about how to plan and conduct simulation-learning experiences.

How did returning to the Coastal Promise exercise in November 2018 as a role player and member of the Education & Training Team impact you?

I had so much fun!  Role playing uses parts of my brain that I don’t get to exercise that often — especially semi-improvisational acting. Working with the E&T team behind the scenes was incredibly fulfilling; because we have such diverse professional backgrounds, each of us approaches the world from a different perspective, which I believe helps to create learning experiences that are theoretically grounded as well as practical.

Can you recall something about the exercise that has helped you in your studies and work?

The LaRoche training provided context for my research at the time: educational technology for IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Haiti. What I learned during the May 2018 exercise helped me with everything from the literature I searched for (keywords I wouldn’t have otherwise considered using as search terms) to the research questions and hypotheses that I generated. Essentially, I was better able to consider issues in more meaningful and practical ways, and to more fully grasp the needs and limitations around educational technology following a disaster.

What are your future plans?

By the time I complete my Ed.D. work and dissertation research, I hope to be actively engaged in equity work with white K-12 teachers, helping them recognize and identify their implicit biases — especially racial biases — and offer support as they process this information and move towards more equitable teaching and discipline practices.

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